Some members of a Bay Area family say they’re heartbroken and outraged after their disabled loved one was wrongfully arrested and then died while in custody.
Melvin Stubbs, an amputee with health issues, was arrested on murder charges related to his wife's death. It turns out, she died of natural causes. Stubbs died at Dublin's Santa Rita Jail within a couple hours of being booked.
"There is nothing that can justify this in any way whatsoever," Manuel Primas said Wednesday, adding that there's no excuse for what led to his brother-in-law's death.
Stubbs, 65, died in custody Saturday afternoon hours after being arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife, 58-year-old Terry Cameron. The coroner now says she died of meningitis.
"It's a crime what they did to the man," Primas said.
But Oakland police Lt. Roland Holmgren defended officers' decision to arrest Stubbs, saying the 65-year-old was arrested "because they had evidence that suggested that he was the person responsible for murder."
According to Oakland police, when officers got to the couple's apartment in the 10400 block of Foothill Boulevard, there were signs of a struggle. Holmgren says the man's wife was dead on the floor with a pillow over her face, with Stubbs lying beside her with scratches on his body. Holmgren says Stubbs was cleared by a doctor before they brought him to the police department where he was interviewed for two hours, showing no signs of being seriously sick.
"He said they had gotten into a fight and she had tried to choke him in some particular manner, but she got tired and fell unconscious," Holmgren said. "We believed Mr. Stubbs was responsible for the death."
Police say Stubbs was evaluated by a second doctor before being booked into the Santa Rita Jail where he was found unconscious less than two hours later.
Police now acknowledge Stubbs did not kill his wife but stand by their actions.
Terry Cameron's grandson, Phillip Wilson, agrees with police. They "did the right thing," he said Wednesday.
Wilson says Stubbs was abusive toward his grandmother. While she may have died of meningitis, he says he thinks Stubbs contributed to her death. He says Stubbs wore a Life Alert, which he did not use to call for help. Police estimate Cameron had been dead for two days when they discovered her.
Still, some of Stubbs' loved ones remain upset with police.
"They took a grandfather and a father away and a friend to a lot of people," Primas said. "They took his life from him."